It’s Time To Stop Comparing Yourself With Others
We are social folks. it is natural for us to compare ourselves with those around us. We look to what everyone else is doing for cues for what to do in a situation. The thing is we like to think of ourselves as being individuals. We often don’t realise that we are comparing ourselves with others. When we feel guilty or shame about our differences then something more than comparison is happening.
I remember my sociology lecturer illustrating how we conform by telling us about the Asch Paradigm. In this experiment, some volunteers were asked to stand in a lift but to face the back instead of the door as most people do. When others walked into the lift they noticed the volunteers facing the back and slowly turned to face the same way. They looked uncertain and confused but everyone turned around and faced the back of the lift like the volunteers.
This study has always stuck in my mind. When I find myself thinking about what is expected. What everyone else is doing I am reminded of those confused people facing the back of the lift because they didn’t want to stand out. In our everyday life, we probably don’t encounter people such unusual examples as this. When we find ourselves comparing ourselves to our peers it is often the everyday normal events. We compare ourselves to the parent who looks calmer, more organised and together when her child is having a tantrum in the supermarket. We also compare ourselves and our lives to the happy pictures on social media especially when we’ve had the day from hell.
It’s Not About You
Comparing ourselves is natural but when we feel a sense of lacking, shame or guilt about the differences we perceive that has a real impact on us. We make these differences personal and set out a clear expectation for what we think we should be. The guilt and shame come from not being what we think we should be not from what we are. It becomes personal rather than acknowledging the difference and accepting them.
We wish we were having lovely family days out like other families on social media. We wonder why we don’t look as beautiful as our friend on Instagram. When we meet that parent from school who seems to remember what day it is and what she is supposed to be doing we wonder what she has that we don’t.
We All Struggle
The thing is every single one of us struggles. No matter how organised, put together and calm we look to the outside world. We all have meltdown moments we all struggle and stress. We are all doing our best with our own demons, struggles, privileges and disadvantages. The thing is we often don’t see other folks struggles. People often only show us their edited highlights instead.
How many times have you put a brave smile on your face when you feel like a disaster. Remember everyone else has these moments too.
Stop comparing yourself at your worst to others at their best. Lower your expectations and stop making those comparisons personal. You don’t need to slay every day like a multitasking superstar. Sometimes getting through the day in one piece is enough. It is ok if you want to make changes to yourself or your life but stop giving yourself a hard time for not being there already. You are enough.
If you are fed up worrying about what everyone thinks or trying to keep up with the expectations that weigh heavy on your shoulders. Take a look at my 12-session coaching package, Reclaim your Life or Arrange a free consultation to discuss whether 1:1 coaching is right for you.
Originally published at https://www.lynnemcleanbrown.com on February 5, 2021.